3 Tips for Parents Raising Socially-Conscious Kids
In today’s political climate, families are actively speaking about their beliefs and standing up for their rights. While some protests turn violent in the United States, the majority of them remain peaceful and give parents a venue for showing their children how to use their rights of freedom of speech and assembly responsibly. Raising socially-conscious kids who want to take part in the political process is important to many families, and we offer a few tips for keeping your family safe while attending protests and encouraging them to make positive impacts in the community in addition to protesting.
1. Protest Safely
Of course, the first step in ensuring your family’s safety at a protest is learning as much about the event beforehand. Be sure you research the organizers and understand their mission and plans. Find out how much of a law enforcement presence is expected to attend the protest and whether recent protests in the area have turned violent.
Remind your family that you must stay together and set some ground rules for everyone; for example, you must remain near the back of the protest group instead of up front near law enforcement, you may not throw anything at anyone, and you will use respectful language at all times.
It is important to wear comfortable clothing and shoes to the protest. You will be on your feet and marching or walking for quite some time. You should dress in layers so you are comfortable no matter the weather and reduce exposure to the elements and gas or pepper spray. Keep your face uncovered because face paint, hoods, and masks are often worn by criminals who use the situation as an excuse to vandalize cars and businesses, and you do not want to be mistaken for one.
Only take necessities to the protest, such as a bottle of water and shatter-resistant glasses or sunglasses. If you choose to take your smartphone, be sure that you have security measures in place to protect your identity and prevent someone from getting information about you should you lose it. Avoid taking anything that law enforcement could perceive as a threat or a danger. The last thing you want is your son to be detained because he forgot to take a pocketknife out of his pocket. It’s a good idea to take a zippered bag or backpack with you to prevent losing your belongings or falling victim to a pickpocket.
2. Take Steps to Positively Impact Your Community
In addition to protesting for change, you can take steps to positively impact your community in other ways as a family. For example, you can volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen or animal shelter. You can hold a bake sale or set up a lemonade stand to benefit a local non-profit organization.
Your children can make posters to advertise and hold a canned goods drive in your neighborhood and then help you deliver the collected items to a shelter or food bank in your area. Summer is a great time to work as a family to volunteer, especially because most organizations get more donations during the holidays.
3. Work Toward Living a Greener Life
Raising a socially-conscious family also should involve living an eco-conscious life. It’s simple to get kids involved in living a greener life by teaching them about recycling and conserving energy and water at home by turning off lights and faucets when they are not in use. You also could work as a team to create a compost station in your backyard and use your compost for your garden. The possibilities are nearly endless, and your kids can help you research even more ways to live green.
Teaching kids to be active in promoting social and environmental causes is important to a lot of families today. Some of the ways you can go about doing so is protesting safely, taking steps to positively impact your community, and working toward living a greener life.